Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TECH TIME REVIEW: Sprint’s HTC EVO Design 4G smartphone brings some top specs for a lower price, but lacks in some areas

The EVO smartphones have traditionally been Sprint’s superstar line – from the original HTC EVO to the more recent HTC EVO 3D. They have featured the top specs, and higher prices too as a result, which people have been pretty willing to pay considering the line’s success.

But the latest EVO bucks that trend. With mid-range specs and a smaller screen, it’s going for a different market – people who want a phone with the EVO name but are on a smaller budget.

I recently spent some time with the EVO Design 4G and I’ll let you know how it measures up to the competition and who might be interested in buying it.


It seems odd to say, but this phone’s 4-inch screen is the smallest in the EVO lineup. That’s actually good news for people who don’t love the humongous screens (4.3, 4.5, 4.7 inches, etc.) that have come to be a standard spec on most new smartphones. This size makes it easier to fit in your pocket and hold in your palm, and makes one-handed use a much more likely proposition for people without big hands. Designwise, it’s nothing too groundbreaking, with a typical candybar design and specs of 4.8 inches x 2.4 inches x 0.5 inches. While it sounds thin at first, in the era of ultra-thin phones like the Droid Razr, half an inch is actually pretty thick in comparison. The weight is a very manageable 5.22 ounces. Like most HTC phones I have tested, the EVO Design 4G was made with sturdy materials and is built to last, unlike some of the phones its competitors often release that feel cheap and plasticky.


One area that is quite impressive on the EVO Design 4G is the qHD capacitive touch display, which measures in at 960x540 resolution. While this falls short of the true HD 720 displays on some other new phones, this is pretty much the next best thing. Videos, games and photos pop off the screen quite vividly.


If you’re looking for a phone whose battery life will knock your socks off, you’re not going to want to go this route. Any major online or downloading activity will suck down the battery quite quickly, compared to other phones that I have tried recently.

There are ways to manage the phone’s settings, though, to make this problem less of an issue.


The EVO Design 4G comes with the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system, and it’s expected to be upgraded at some point to the much anticipated Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) operating system.

Anyone familiar with Android will know that it comes with the ever-growing and extremely versatile Android Market – offering apps and games for all tastes and needs. You also get the Google integration that comes with Android -- Gmail, Google Maps, etc.

As per usual, HTC have overlayed their HTC Sense user interface on top of the basic Android system. I didn’t hate it, in fact there’s a lot to like about Sense, but some elements of this user interface seemed to be too much and at times I wished it had stock Android on it. This is a minor point though, and most users won’t have any concerns about Sense and will enjoy the overall Android experience.


Here’s where things start to look mid-range. You get a Qualcomm 1.2 GHz processor, which is fast, but it’s not dual-core. Single-core in today’s smartphone world is old-school, and this means less ability to multitask quickly or run intensive apps without delays.

You get an 8GB microSD card installed for storage (which you can upgrade to 32GB via microSD card).

The phone runs on Sprint’s 4G network, but that network has not made its way to the area where I was testing the phone (southeast Michigan), so I only was able to experience 3G download and upload speeds.

To read the entire review, click here


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December 29, 2011 at 5:43 AM 

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